Did you know Spotlight PA is a nonprofit? Learn more about our nonpartisan journalism »
Skip to main content
Main content

Legal action likely over Pa.’s new legislative maps

Plus, Pa. orders massive medical marijuana recall.


A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA

Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
February 7, 2022
The balance of power in Harrisburg hangs in the balance this year. Support tough, nonpartisan reporting that cuts through the noise, gets to the truth, and empowers voters. Give now »
New maps, election review, racist recruits, red flags, no nod, cannabis recall, and the RNC isn't coming to Pennsylvania after all. It's Monday.
Want to see your message here? Contact us about sponsoring PA Post.
Pennsylvania officially has new state legislative maps after a bipartisan redistricting panel approved updated state House and state Senate boundaries in a 4-to-1 vote on Friday, Spotlight PA and Votebeat report.

Republicans retain an advantage, but the maps are closer to even splits than the versions they replace and could boost Democrats and substantially alter the balance of power in Harrisburg for years to come

Anyone has 30 days to challenge either map in court, and Republicans unhappy with the state House map may do so. 

While the House map was changed before adoption to force fewer faceoffs between Republican incumbents, increased Democratic competitiveness remains a concern for a GOP looking to maintain control of both legislative chambers in an election year with a governor's race on the ballot.

THE CONTEXT: Metrics that gauge how well political maps reflect the party makeup of a state's electorate indicate the plans approved by the Legislative Reapportionment Commission on Friday are an improvement. 

"Even if imperfect, these are good maps that are fair, that are responsive to the requirements of the law, and that will serve the interests of the people of Pennsylvania for the next decade," said Commission Chair Mark Nordenberg.

The final maps were updates of earlier versions approved in December, the tweaks informed by a torrent of public comment and lawmaker feedback. 

The state Senate map remained largely unchanged, though it was amended to create a new district in Philly with a significant number of Hispanic voters.

Find the latest on Pennsylvania's separate congressional redistricting process, which is now in the hands of the state's Supreme Court, here.
In appreciation of the Paulnack, Molendini, and Turlish families in Shamokin, Kulpmont, and Mt. Carmel. With love, Austin P.
Want to send someone a message of love, gratitude, or appreciation?

Here's how it works: Make a donation of $25 or more to Spotlight PA using this special link, put your shoutout in the "I am contributing because..." box, and we’ll include it right here for everyone in the state to see.

"My name may not be on the ballot, but make no mistake, I will still be fighting every day to help win this election."

—Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh announcing the end of her Democratic bid for U.S. Senate; here's a look at the remaining field
» HERSHEY SPLIT: A "small number" of Hershey Company employees who did not follow the chocolatier's COVID-19 vaccine mandate or obtain an exemption have been "separated" from the company, per ABC27. 

» FREE ADVICE: St. Luke's University Health Network will no longer offer free public health advice to the Southern Lehigh School District amid a spat over conflicting COVID-19 guidance, Lehigh Valley Live reports.

» CARD THEFTS: Roughly 5,000 blank COVID-19 vaccination cards were stolen from an employee-only storage room at a Philadelphia hospital late last week. Authorities say there were no signs of forced entry, per 6ABC.

» OFFICIAL INQUIRY: Two U.S. senators — Patty Murray (D., Wash.) and Richard Burr (R., N.C.) — want a 9/11-style commission to probe COVID-19's origins and the U.S. government's response, NBC News reports. 

» HUMAN TOLL: The U.S. surpassed 900,000 COVID-19 deaths on Friday, more than 41,000 of those in Pennsylvania. Next month, Pennsylvania will mark two years since the first reported COVID-19 case here on March 6, 2020.

To find a COVID-19 vaccine, use the federal government's online tool, call 1-800-232-0233, or text your zip code to 438829 (GETVAX).
This is Mary's Pink Church, an arts and live music space in Julian, Centre County. Thanks for sharing, @lora_explores! Send us your gems. Use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
OPEN INQUIRY: A GOP-led inquiry into Pennsylvania's 2020 election is looking more and more like the partisan and widely panned Arizona "audit" that served as early inspiration, the AP reports. The news outlet has an update on where things stand with Pennsylvania's probe amid a spate of legal challenges, shifting areas of focus, a ballooning price tag, and a continued dearth of voter fraud evidence.

HATE GROUP: The Patriot Front white supremacist group is recruiting across Pennsylvania, with leaked data showing two active networks and at least 13 members here, more than every state but Texas, LNP reports. The group's public-facing propaganda efforts are increasingly bold. The latest example: the branded vandalization of a "No Place for Hate" mural in Boyertown, seen here in before and after photos.

LEGAL ISSUES: A district attorney's handling of two killings involving a State Police trooper with an exceptional history of lethal force has prompted an NAACP complaint to the state's disciplinary board, per WITF. Among the issues raised: Lebanon County DA Pier Hess Graf's marriage to a State Police corporal who's stationed with the trooper at the center of both cases. Graf says the complaint is meritless.

NO DECISION: Pennsylvania's GOP state committee decided not to endorse anyone in the party's crowded primaries for governor and U.S. Senate over the weekend. Politico reports the non-endorsement is bad news for Senate hopeful Jeff Bartos, who needs a boost to "overcome his rivals' financial and name ID advantages." The state Democratic committee was unable to give a Senate nod in their primary.

MMJ RECALL: Hundreds of medical marijuana vape products have been recalled in Pennsylvania following a Department of Health review that found the oil inside contains additives not approved for inhalation by the FDA. But medical marijuana producers say not only were the additives previously cleared by the DOH, they argue the lack of FDA approval for such products doesn't really mean anything.
POLITICAL DECISION: Pittsburgh is out of the running to host the 2024 Republican National Convention, Politico reports. One of four cities under close consideration, Pittsburgh was far from united about the prospect

BLACK HISTORY: Community College of Philadelphia professor Anyabwile Love is showcasing his expansive collection of rare and vintage Black literature at a new Brewerytown book store, Billy Penn reports.
NOT SO FAST: PennDOT will reimburse hundreds of drivers fined by a speed camera along a Route 1 construction zone in Bucks County that the ticketed say wasn't properly labeled, LevittownNow reports.

CAT CASE: An arrest has been made after a 22-year-old bobcat named Blanche was brazenly stolen from a Poconos animal farm late last week. WNEP reports Blanche has been safely recovered. 

CITYCOINS: Philadelphia is considering launching its own cryptocurrency as a means of raising funds to address the city's "most pressing problems," StateScoop reports. Here's how it's going in Miami.
Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag.

*This week's theme: Arts and crafts

Friday's answer: Beneficence

Congrats to our weekly winner: Starr B.

Congrats to our daily winners: Michelle T., Vicki U., Brandie K., Pat B., Don H., Mike B., Doris T., Janet C., Barbara F., Stephen G., Carol D., Kevin M., Nancy S., Kimberly D., Judith D., Patricia M., Susan D., Elaine C., Keith F., Irene R., Craig W., Ted W., Beth T., Kim C., Steve D., Barbara O., John A., Deb N., Mary Jo J., Tish M., Margaret D., Kimberly S., Rachel K., Sherri A., George S., Fred O., David S., Nancy S., Marty M., Dianne K., Jill A., James B., Joel S., Patricia R., Stephen B., Timothy I., Al M., Charles D., Elizabeth W., Karen W., Jeri D., Jude M., Johnny C., Bill S., Susan N.-Z., Suzanne S., Eddy Z., Alan V., Lex M., Bruce B., David W., Rich M., Cindy G., Wendy A., William S., and John H.
Like PA Post? Share it with a friend.

Love PA Post? Chip in to support local journalism.

Forwarded this newsletter? Subscribe here.
Spotlight PA is an independent, non-partisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with PennLive/The Patriot-News, TribLIVE/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and WITF Public Media.

Copyright © Spotlight PA / The Philadelphia Inquirer, All rights reserved.

Spotlight PA
225 Market St., Suite 502A
Harrisburg, PA 17101

You're receiving this email because you subscribed to PA Post, a daily newsletter by Spotlight PA.

You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.